'Atlantis Gold' seafood exports, directed to the Chinese market. (Photo: BIM/ Rockabill/FIS)
Seafood exports gain greater traction in China
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Friday, October 26, 2012, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
Irish seafood companies Atlanfish Limited and Rockabill Shellfish Limited have together launched a new international brand this week aimed at the Chinese market at Chapter One restaurant in Dublin.
The new brand, “Atlantic-Gold,” which includes a range of shellfish (prawns, crab, lobster, razor clams, scallops) and whitefish products, was developed to cater to the growing demand for quality seafood in the Chinese market. The range will be available in the food service sector at first and it will later be extended to retail.
With an ever-increasing population and middle-class dynamic in China, this market offers the Irish seafood sector great growth potential: total seafood exports to China in 2011 were EUR 2.9 million and the latest data up to July 2012 details exports at EUR 5.3 million -- an 80 per cent increase over 2011 before year end.
Trade in pelagic seafood made up EUR 2.1 million of total exports last year and EUR 4.7 million of exports for year to date in 2012. The demand for premium Irish shellfish, mainly crab and crustaceans, is also escalating and expected to be valued at over EUR 1 million this year.
But to expand on this initial success and keep growing its market share, the Irish seafood sector must build scale and improve route to market structures. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency, which assisted the companies with this project, have been working with industry to this effect.
“Building scale in the Irish Seafood Sector is a priority for BIM,” noted Donal Buckley, BIM’s Business Development and Innovation Manager. “Our seafood enjoys an excellent reputation but we need to pool individual companies’ resources so as to reduce duplication costs, boost profitability, improve customer service and time to market.”
Both Atlanfish and Rockabill run successful seafood businesses with collective revenues of EUR 30 million, processing facilities and their own fishing vessels; together, the companies can offer a greater volume of high end seafood. With 75 per cent of the total catch of Irish prawns, 65 per cent of Irish whitefish and 50 per cent of Irish crab, these companies can guarantee volume, quality, consistency, full traceability and reliability in the marketplace.
Moreover, razor fish is caught, kept live on-board in tanks and then flown live to China.
“The brand that we have developed offers a range of premium quality seafood from the pure waters around the coast of Ireland,” Bill Price, president of Rockabill Shellfish, commented. “We now offer ‘straight from the sea’ taste and a ‘One Stop Irish Seafood Shop’ to the Chinese market.”
The Atlantic-Gold product range will be exhibited at the China Seafood Show in Dalian from 6-8 November.
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